The importance of early identification of children with developmental delay has emerged in recent years as a matter of growing concern among pediatricians(1-3). There is, however, no consensus as to how such early identification can be optimally performed. Some of the commonly used techniques include reviewing developmental milestones with parents, relying on clinical judgement based on history, physical examination and observation(4,5). However, physicians subjective impressions and their estimates of children’s developmental status is often inaccurate(6).
Research reveals almost half of the children with developmental disabilities are not identified by their pediatricians(7). Research over the last several decades has endeavoured to identify the most appropriate and cost effective method for early detection of children with developmental problems(8). One screening method developed in recent years elicits parents’ concerns regarding children’s development status(9). A study has documented that parents who expressed concerns about speech, language, fine motor or cognitive skills had children with an 80% chance of failing standardized developmental screening(10). On the other hand, parents who felt that their children were developing normally or who had concerns only about behavior, self help or socio-emotional development had children with a 94% chance of passing screening. The importance of parents concerns about their children’s development is unknown in our country, although it has been found to be a useful clinical tool in the West(11). In the Indian context an important question is whether a developmental concern reflects a child’s true deviation or does it simply reveal parental anxiety? Moreover, does not expressing a concern mean that the child is developing normally or does it reveal that the Indian parents are not well informed about normal development or that they are hesitant to discuss non-medical concerns with the physicians?
Keeping this in view, the present study aimed at: (i) identifying the range of concerns parents have about their child’s development; and (ii) evaluating the relationship between parents concerns and the child’s develop-mental status.